C is for Cocktail: The Sidecar

For anyone wondering why there is a cocktail recipe here, please refer to this post.  Otherwise, let’s all sit back and enjoy a Prohibition classic…

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T H E   S I D E C A R


my side car from Maggiano's

The side car I drank last night at Maggiano’s.  It was actually orangey-yellow, not pink—that’s just the lighting.

Considered by many to be “the only good cocktail to come out of the long national nightmare that was Prohibition,” the Sidecar is a classic post-WWI concoction with a disputed origin.

The French claim it was originally invented at Harry’s Bar in Paris by an American Army Captain who often traveled to Harry’s in the sidecar of his friend’s motorcycle.  He wanted a drink to “warm him up before dinner,” so brandy was suggested, and the rest was history.  However, Robert’s 1922 guide Cocktails, How to Mix Them claims that, while “very popular in France,” Sidecars were “first introduced in London by MacGarry, the celebrated bar-tender of Buck’s Club.”  Adding to the feud are two different variations on the drink: the French version calls for “equal parts Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice,” while the English version is “two parts brandy and equal parts Cointreau and lemon juice.”

However you make it, Esquire claims they’re wonderfully seductive–and a bit dangerous, too: “It’s so easy, in fact, to be seduced by this clever old roué that a word of caution would not be out of place here. These gents have a way of stealing up on you and — bimmo! Next thing you know it’s 8:43 on Monday morning and you’re sitting in the backseat of a taxi idling in front of your place of employ. In your skivvies.”

Personally, I would agree.  I had one last night for the first time, and I can’t wait to have another! 🙂

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Three different versions of the Side Car follow.  I included the 1934 one (taken from The Merry Mixer by William Guyer) because of the bizarre “throat preparer” recipe attached to it.  The modern one comes from New York’s Employees Only, a speakeasy-themed bar which recreates Prohibition cocktails for modern tastes.

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T H E   1 9 2 2   V E R S I O N :

 Fill the shaker half full of broken ice and add:

1/6 gill of fresh Lemon Juice.

1/6 gill of Cointreau

1/6 gill of Cognac Brandy

Shake well and strain into a cocktail-glass.

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T H E   1 9 3 4   V E R S I O N :

1 part Cointreau . . . 3 parts Brandy

1/2 part Lemon juice

Shake vigorously . . . plenty of ice

For best effects, serve with a throat preparer[sic] made as follows:

Toast some bread . . . crustless. On each slice place thin layers of dill pickle. Sprinkle with grated cheese, and bake in a hot oven until the cheese melts . . . or the whole business burns up.

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THE MODERN VERSION:

Lemon wedge

Superfine sugar, for rim

1 1/4 ounces Courvoisier VS Cognac

1 1/4 ounces Cointreau

1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 orange twist, for garnish

Moisten the rim of the cocktail glass with the lemon wedge.  Carefully dip the rim in the sugar so that only the very top edge is coated evenly.*  Place the glass in the freezer to let the sugar rim harden. Pour the cognac, Cointreau, and juice into a mixing glass. Add large cold ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange twist.

* Author’s Note: Sugaring the rim in this way was first done in the 1930s; the original drink recipes do not call for this step.

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About lupachi1927

My name's Megan. I'm a writer with an interest in history. While I might not be a real historian, I'm a very thorough researcher! :) This blog is my place to post about all the interesting historical tidbits I find that can't use in the novel I'm working on, which takes place in Chicago in 1927.
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4 Responses to C is for Cocktail: The Sidecar

  1. Pingback: C is For Cocktail: Cheers to the Ladies | A Smile And A Gun

  2. jazzfeathers says:

    I don’t know why, ever since I reserched cocktails (I had to, most of my story happenes in a speakeasy) when I think to Prohibition cocktails the Sidecar is one of the first coming to my mind 🙂

    Like

    • lupachi1927 says:

      Ah so you’ve researched them too! You should definitely do some posts on them then! What drinks ended up in your books?

      Like

      • jazzfeathers says:

        The FMC and one of the women in the supporting cast have their favourit drinks (the men don’t drink and they are always joked to be drys). Sinéad’s favourite corcktail is the Rob Roy. Susie’s favourite is the Daiquiri.

        Though the reason why I researched the cocktails was that I wanted to know what kind of stock the speakeasy would have. What produce they would buy and what kind of job the bartenders would do behind the counter.
        It was great fun.

        And yes, I’ll be doing a series like yours… sooner or later 😉

        Like

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